Funeral, procession today for fallen Asheville firefighter Jeff Bowen

Capt. Jeff Bowen’s funeral is set for 11 a.m. today, Aug. 2, at Biltmore Baptist Church, and while the community is invited to pay their respects, officials expect “significant traffic delays” and congestion during the procession to and from the church. Bowen died on Thursday, July 28, while fighting a major fire at a Biltmore Avenue medical building. The fire injured almost a dozen other firefighters and caused significant damage to the building, which may not re-open for several months. City officials report that about 25 fire vehicles will take part in the procession today, escorting Bowen’s body from the Groce Funeral Home on Patton Avenue to Biltmore Baptist. Traffic delays are also expected from noon to 2 p.m., when Bowen will be returned to the funeral home.

The city’s full press release about the funeral and procession plans:

The visitation for Asheville Fire Department Captain Jeffrey Bowen will take place at Biltmore Baptist Church, located at 35 Clayton Road in Arden, Monday, Aug. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m.  The visitation is open to the public.

Members of the community will have an opportunity to pay their respects to Captain Bowen Monday afternoon as the Asheville Fire Department and approximately 25 of its vehicles and apparatus will provide escort as Captain Bowen’s body is transported from Groce Funeral Home on Patton Avenue to Biltmore Baptist Church. The procession, which will only include Asheville Fire Department vehicles, is scheduled to leave the funeral home around 3:30 p.m.

The escort route is as follows:  Patton Avenue to Louisiana Avenue to Haywood Road to Brevard Road to Clayton Road, where Biltmore Baptist Church is located. Members of the public wishing to pay tribute to Captain Bowen are encouraged to line the escort route in safe areas.

Motorists should note that all intersections will be blocked during the escort.  Traffic delays are expected.

The memorial service, to be held at Biltmore Baptist Church, will begin promptly at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Aug 2.  Parking will be available at the church.  Once parking at the church reaches capacity, additional parking will be available at T.C. Roberson High School.  Buses will be made available to provide shuttle transportation to and from the church.

Heavy traffic is expected before the service and the public is asked to plan accordingly.

At the conclusion of the service, the body of Captain Bowen will be taken back to Groce Funeral Home, following the same route previously outlined only reversed.  Attending fire departments from across the region and state will participate.

Intersections will be blocked during the escort and significant traffic delays are expected between noon and 2 p.m.  Members of the public wishing to pay tribute to Captain Bowen are encouraged to line the escort route in safe areas.

The family has respectfully requested that no photographs or video be taken inside the church at both the visitation and the memorial.

The City of Asheville Fire Department will be assisted by firefighters from approximately 25 other communities to ensure that all Asheville Fire Department personnel are relieved of duty to pay respects to their fallen friend and colleague.

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About Margaret Williams
Managing Editor Margaret Williams has been at Xpress since 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987.

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